Sustainability

Protecting the Future

A history spanning more than seven decades gives a company a very different perspective on the future. We began in 1937, the year the Golden Gate Bridge opened, Amelia Earhart disappeared, and gas was ten cents a gallon. When we moved to our West Sacramento location in 1974, it was still common to see ring-necked pheasants flying over foggy wetlands on the way to work. You had to drive a mile or two to find a place to eat, and gas was 55 cents a gallon.

Because of our long history, we understand better than most that time passes quickly and it takes work to protect the climate and preserve the things that matter. Throughout the company, we’re working hard to conserve natural resources and minimize our impact on the environment.

Regional co-packaging

Bottling within or near your destination markets dramatically reduces fuel consumption, trucking time and costs, and environmental impact. We’re also looking to the future and exploring the possibilities of using rail and cargo ships. If plans move forward on deepening the Sacramento shipping channel, our West Sacramento facility will be ideally situated to take advantage of this environmentally preferred option.

Energy efficiency

One of the ways we do that is by incorporating energy-saving equipment wherever possible. During the 2008 renovation of our West Sacramento facility, we removed old light fixtures, added skylights and solar light tubes to bring in natural light, and installed high-efficiency light fixtures. We also incorporated on-demand boilers that use less energy and are retrofitting the boilers in our Anaheim plant to reduce energy use and emissions. In addition, one of the benefits our automated process control systems offer is the ability to manage energy use throughout the production process.

We currently operate a forklift fleet in compliance with the California Air Resource Board and use twin-load racking to reduce fuel consumption by loading twice as fast. By 2013, we plan to complete our conversion to an all-electric forklift fleet. In addition, we are gradually upgrading our beer delivery fleet to higher-efficiency diesel trucks.

Recycling

One of our most exciting initiatives is a program personally championed by one of our employees. Jim Bieber came up with an aggressive recycling plan and secured funding to install cardboard balers, glass crushers, aluminum compactor, and concrete pads for recycling stations. He also secured buyers for various recycled goods and set up internal systems for collection.

Jim Bieber

Jim Bieber

Champion of Nor-Cal's recycling program.

Today the West Sacramento facility sends all cardboard, glass, plastic and metals to recyclers, including the metal straps found on drum containers and the plastic straps that hold cardboard bundles together. Bieber even found a way to recycle juice boxes used in our aseptic packaging line, something often considered impossible.

Water

Rather than send out products that are spoiled or do not meet our quality standards to third-party processors for treatment, Plant Engineer Paul Orebaugh developed an onsite treatment system for West Sacramento that ensures wastewater meets pH standards before being sent to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The system helps keep the city’s wastewater system healthy and saves money on transportation costs we used to incur by sending the products elsewhere for treatment.

Our water conservation efforts extend throughout our facilities. To conserve water, we moved from water-based wet lubricant to dry line lubricants. In Southern California, those efforts have earned recognition from the City of Anaheim for reducing water use year over year.

Electronic waste

We’ve also found a way to use our electronic waste to benefit the community. To do that, we seek out schools involved with fund raising through e-waste collection days and donate all of our collected e-waste to the school. To date, we have donated more than 5,000 pounds of waste through this program.

Ongoing actions

These are just a few of the initiatives we’ve undertaken so far. We continue to look for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint, divert waste from landfills, and preserve the health of our air, water and people.